© 2003 "Yes Lord" Ministries
Hi again! And welcome back to this continuing study of 1 Corinthians. And this lesson really is a continuing study because it builds upon what we have learned in the 2 previous lessons. Indeed, Chapters 12, 13, and 14 of 1 Corinthians, though seemingly unrelated, actually are a unit concerning Spiritual Gifts -- what they are, how they are to be used, their importance, their purposes, and more.
In Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, we learned the ___________ of the specific
Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We will, of course, read and study the Scripture text itself (Chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians), but, before we do that, we need to understand the meaning/definition of these specific gifts (Prophecy and Tongues) which are the names of 2 of the Spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Chapter 12. We will hopefully, in this lesson, also better understand why love is the most important consideration when any of the spiritual gifts are being employed, whether it is these gifts or any of those named in Chapter 12 and elsewhere in the New Testament.
You are doubtless aware that there are many "views" and "opinions" of what the Spiritual Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues are! Indeed, beginning in Corinth and continuing down through the centuries, there have been divisions in the Church over the definitions, persistence, purposes, and ministries of these Gifts. Divisions in the Church ? Yes, sadly so. It was already beginning to happen in Corinth. And this is one of the reasons why Paul devoted 3 chapters to the discussion of Spiritual gifts and why he wrote the LOVE chapter before discussing, in Chapter 14, the two most divisive Gifts, the gifts of Prophecy and Tongues.
You will recall that this young fellowship of Believers in Corinth was just beginning to learn the fundamentals of the faith. Most of the believers/Christians in the congregation had only been saved for a very few years (perhaps 2 or 3 or so on average). So, they still had a lot to learn about their new faith and about the Holy awesome Creator God, Whose Holy Spirit now indwells them and gives the various Spiritual Gifts.
Furthermore, they were in a large city which had many temples to gods and goddesses with all kinds of "dark things" going on in those temples. And, among the "dark things" was the practice of speaking in tongues! Yes! Even the heathen / the ungodly/ the non-Christians were often "filled with a spirit" (which was NOT the Holy Spirit of the One True Holy God) but which was a demonic spirit. And these demonic spirits often caused the pagan worshippers to speak in tongues! (The devil loves to try to copy the things of God, and tongue speaking was, and still is, one of these counterfeit activities). Tongue speaking was a very "showy experience" and one which was much sought for in the pagan temples.
And, alas, the Gift of Tongues, being a "showy" gift, was similarly desired and sought for by the Christians in the church in Corinth.
So, yes, there is a Godly Holy Spirit given Gift of tongues and there is a counterfeit speaking of tongues which is demonic in origin. (And there are also "tongues" which are just "made up" by folks who want to speak in tongues but are neither empowered by demons or by the Holy Spirit.to speak in tongues, so they just "make it up", thinking they can gain praise and attention by so doing.) This is why, even today, tongues are still very "controversial" and often cause church splits and broken fellowship with others in the Church. This is also why, then and now, ALL tongue speaking should be carefully evaluated to be SURE that it is of Godly (Holy Spirit) origin and not of demonic origin.
Paul, then, in writing to the Church at Corinth, laid the foundation re Spiritual Gifts in Chapters 12 and 13 and then, in Chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, explains to the young believers about the proper use and purpose of the Spiritual gift of Tongues. He also teaches them why Prophecy is more essential than tongues for their growth to maturity as Christians.
So, with that said, let's look now at the DEFINITIONS of Prophecy and Tongues, as intended by Paul, as he reasoned with them on this very "hot topic".
In the following paragraphs, I have culled for you, from various
sources, information about the gifts of Prophecy, Tongues, the Interpretation
of tongues, and of a "prophet" (the one with the gift of Prophecy). As
you read these definitions and explanations,
Romanized propheteuo. Pronounced prof-ate-yoo'-o
from GSN4396; to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office:
in KJV--translated "prophesy"
PROPHESY....from the Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown Bible Commentary
"... ... ...prophesy" (speak and exhort under inspiration) (Pr 29:18; Ac 13:1; 1Th 5:20), whether as to future events, that is, strict prophecy, or explaining obscure parts of Scripture, especially the prophetical Scriptures or illustrating and setting forth questions of Christian doctrine and practice. ... ... "
PROPHESY.... from John Wesley's Notes on the Bible
PROPHECY... in verse 6 and etc....from Strong's Ref. # 4394
PROPHECY: from the The Geneva Study Bible
PROPHESYING: from Henry's Concise Dictionary
PROPHESYING: From Gray Home Bible Commentary
PROPHET: from Easton's Bible Dictionary
"The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the "seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; comp. Heb. 3:7; Acts 4:25; 28:25).
"Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be.
"The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government."
"Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet. ... ...
"The title thus has a general application to all who have messages from God to men. But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel.
" ... ... the office of prophet, 'to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of Jehovah, ... ...
"In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33; 24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. ... ... "
Romanized glossa. Pronounced gloce-sah'
of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication, a language (specially, one naturally unacquired):
TONGUES, GIFT OF: From Easton's Bible Dictionary
"Among the gifts of the Spirit the apostle enumerates in 1 Cor. 12:10-14:30, "divers kinds of tongues" and the "interpretation of tongues." This "gift" was a different manifestation of the Spirit from that on Pentecost, although it resembled it in many particulars. Tongues were to be "a sign to them that believe not."
TONGUES From Gray Home Bible Commentary
INTERPRET....in verse 5 and etc.....Strong's Ref. # 1329
Romanized diermeneuo. Pronounced dee-er-main-yoo'-o
from GSN1223 and GSN2059; to explain thoroughly, by implication, to translate:
Wow! That was pretty "heavy" information. And, now, armed with those insights, it is time for us to read the actual words that Paul wrote to the Believers / Christians in the Church of Corinth (and to us) concerning these things.
I have included Chapter 14 for you. Read this chapter 3 times!
The first time you read this chapter, mark every occurrence of PROPHECY, PROPHET, PROPHESIES, etc. or words used in place of those words by putting a GREEN CIRCLE around each occurrence of the word.
On your second reading of this chapter, mark every occurrence of TONGUES, TONGUE, SPEAKS IN A TONGUE, etc. or words used in place of those words by putting a RED CIRCLE around each occurrence of the word or phrase.
Then, on your third reading, mark every occurrence of INTERPRET, INTERPRETS, etc. or words used in place of those words by putting a BLACK CIRCLE around each occurrence of the word.
Ok, that is your assignment, and here is Chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians.
If you prefer to use your own Bible or another version, please feel free
to do so. This is just included for your convenience.
1. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
2. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.
6. Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7. Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8. Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9. So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 12. So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
13. For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17. You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
18. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20. Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
21. In the Law it is written: "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord.
22. Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23. So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24. But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25. and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"
26. What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
29. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints, 34. women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37. If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. (some manuscripts: "if he is ignorant of this, let him be ignorant.")
39. Therefore, my brothers, be eager
to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40. But
everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Hmmmmm. This is very interesting and informative !!! And, there certainly is a LOT of information concerning the gifts of Prophecy and Tongues in these verses -- information that they (and we) need to know to correctly understand and/or practice these gifts.
And, I suspect that you, like I, are thinking that it would be a good idea to organize and summarize this information so we can better understand it. So, let's do that now.
On the following chart, in the appropriate columns, list what
this chapter teaches about the Spiritual Gifts of Prophecy, Tongues, and
the Interpretation of Tongues. ALSO include information about these gifts
that you gleaned as you read the various insights and definitions from
the commentaries, Strong's numbers, etc. Be sure to include the scripture
reference (or the source such as which commentary,etc) for each fact that
you list on the chart. I will begin this chart for you as an
example of how to do this. Also, the length of this chart is, I agree,
definitely too short. So feel free to continue on additional paper. The
MORE information you include, the better you will understand what Paul
is teaching. So, take your time and do a thorough job of making a complete
and detailed chart / listing of this information.
Well, how did you do? Did you need more space than the 'lil 'ole chart provided? Sure! I thought so. It took me a lot more space than this, too. But I was trying to save you paper as you printed this out from the internet or photocopied it later for your friends and I assume that you figured that out and understood.
Anyway, let's continue. You surely recalled, as you read this chapter and made your chart, that earlier in this study of 1 Corinthians we discovered that this letter was being written by Paul to this young church for two main reasons. And, those two reasons were: (hint, if you don't recall this off hand, refer back to the earliest lessons in this study. There are several places where we discussed this, one which is easy to find is on page 1 of Lesson 5)
1. in Chapters 1-6, Paul isYes, you are correct. Paul, in chapter 14, is responding to the second main reason for writing to this young church, and that 2nd reason was to answer specific questions which they had asked him in a recent letter from their church to him. And, apparently one of the specific questions they had asked concerned speaking in tongues -- they had probably asked such things as: are folks allowed to speak in tongues in the worship services?, which is the "best" spiritual gift (tongues, prophecy, etc.)? Also, they likely had asked about the proper order of the worship service and what should be included in a worship service.
Oh, and in case you want to know if you got the first reason "correct", which I am sure you did. The First reason Paul wrote this letter to them was because he had heard (from others) about several specific problems that they were having and he was writing to directly address those problems in Chapters 1-6. Then, of course, as you just said, Chapters 7-16 were in response to their specific questions.
Yes, this young Church at Corinth had problems -- lots of problems! But, don't be too hard on them. Think of your church -- it probably also has problems and misunderstandings in various areas and would do well to also heed Paul's words of wisdom and instructions on the foundational fundamental doctrinal truths and principles. But, lest I be accused of "meddling", let's just focus on the problems of the poor 'ole Corinthians right now.
As we do this 'focusing', let's think about what we have read and studied and answer a few questions. OK? OK.
And, as you answer the following questions, be sure to note the scripture references (or commentary source, dictionary, Strong's number, or whatever), so in the future when you refer back to this information (and you will as you discuss this with others or want to refresh your memory), you will be readily able to "prove" what you are saying by having the exact "proof" scripture or source written by the "fact". And, by the way, as we have mentioned before, this including of the Scripture reference is ALWAYS a good thing to do when you are making lists, answering questions, writing summary statements, or in whatever assignment you are doing, as you study God's Word. So, as a rule of thumb, whether I "ask you to" or not, get into the habit of ALWAYS putting the scripture reference (or other source) by your answer or summary or in a list or whatever. It is EASY to do at the time you are doing it, but it is amazingly difficult to find your "source" after a few days, weeks, or months when this is not "fresh" in your memory. Trust me. -- "been there, done that" -- the "wrong way" (ie without putting the reference) and it is MUCH better to put the references at the TIME you write the information. "A word to the wise should be sufficient....". So, with alllll that said, let's answer some questions !
First of all, in Ch. 14, what two gifts were discussed the most? ____________ and ____________ .
And, of these two (prophecy and tongues), which is to be preferred? _____________
Why is the gift of Prophecy to be preferred when in a worship
Do you have to have tongue speaking in a worship service? __________________
Should a person speak in tongues in a worship service if there is no interpreter? ______
Is anyone to "check" on these prophets? ___________ Who?
What are they to do as they "check" the words of the prophets? (Hint:
see verses 29 and 32)
Ok, with that said. Let's wind up this lesson with one more short series of easy questions. It is time to answer the questions and thoughts that we stated at the beginning of the lesson -- and surely you now know the answers -- so here goes:
Which of the spiritual Gifts (Prophecy or Speaking in tongues) is to
be most eagerly desired (v1) and why?
In verse 40, Paul makes it very clear that "everything should be
done in a fitting and orderly way". What does he mean by "everything"
and "orderly"? Explain your answer.